See the Frog Baby!

A severe case of anencephaly

The makers of "Men in Black" had poor imagination in making their aliens, compared to what real developmental defects can offer. This odd baby that looks like a character from the "Star Wars" was born in Charikot, the headquarters of Dolakha district, on March 29, 2006, and a large crew gathered to witness the event.

The baby, devoid of neck and missing the upper part, having extraordinarily large eyeballs literally

popping out of the eye sockets, was the son of Nir Bahadur Karki and Suntali Karki. The child died 30 minutes after being born.

"We wouldn't have been able to save it, even if it had been brought here alive. This is an extremely abnormal case," said a nurse attending to the mother at the hospital.

The newborn weighed 2 kg (4.4 lbs) at birth and was delivered after the normal nine-month pregnancy period. The couple already had two normal daughters, and the mother did not experience any disease during the pregnancy.

This was an extreme case anencephaly, a developmental defect causing the absence of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain or the presence of minute ones. The embryo develops without the upper part of its skull and neural tube. These embryos can in some cases develop through all the fetal stages and even survive to be born alive, but they cannot survive missing their upper cranium and with the opened brain, as the neural tissue is not covered by bone or skin.

The cause of anencephaly is unknown. Some genetic factors may exist, like low levels of the transcription factor TEAD2. Certain medication, like that against epilepsy and diabetes, could be a risk factor. Low levels of folic acid (vitamin B9) in the diet, too, have been blamed. And women should not wait until pregnancy to start taking folic acid: by the time she founds she is pregnant, the formation of the neural tube (which forms the spine and brain) defect has already occurred.


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